Peter Hanington is a BBC journalist and this shows very strongly in his new thriller, A Single Source. The book is set in the Arab Spring of 2011 and follows three parallel tracks. The main track is around a BBC journalist called William Carver and his colleague Patrick, who are sent to Cairo to cover the unfolding events there, but there are subsidiary plot strands involving two brothers so desperate to leave Eritrea and find a better future in Europe that they are prepared to undertake a hugely dangerous journey, and a former BBC editor who has now changed sides and is working in the press office of the Ministry of Defence.
Carver is a maverick, old school journalist who is a luddite when it comes to technology but has a nose for a story and for finding the best sources. A brilliant story comes to him, but he only has a single source, and with forces trying to push him off course he fights a battle to get the story on air.
The writing around the fictionalised version of the Arab Spring is very evocative and I very much enjoyed reading a journalist’s view of what was unfolding and how it was reported. Hanington’s BBC credentials mean that this is wholly believable and authentic (sometimes too much so, as some of his references to Broadcasting House are a bit niche). Carver is a hugely flawed character, but you can’t help rooting for him. I felt the plot strand involving the brothers from Eritrea was a little neglected – although the description of their journey was heartbreaking, I felt the weaving in of this to the main plot was underdone. Overall though, a really good and educational read, and understandably praised by many other journalists.
This review is of a NetGalley edition, that I received for free in return for an honest review. A Single Source by Peter Hanington is published on 2nd May 2019.